Locsin forgives Iceland's 'dead resolution' on PH drug war killings

MANILA, Philippines – Despite earlier threats of "far-reaching consequences," Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said he has "forgiven" Iceland for what he called its "nothing resolution" adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) urging action against drug war killings in the Philippines.

In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday, September 11, Locsin claimed Iceland's resolution before the UNHRC was a "dead resolution" because "at the end of the road it failed."

"It didn't vote. It didn't pass. The majority were abstentions and nos," he said.

The top diplomat mentioned that he had forgiven Iceland upon seeing reports of a French vessel given to the Philippine Coast Guard. France had co-sponsored the resolution with Iceland. 

"The Iceland resolution is forgiven; it was nothing anyway," Locsin said. (READ: Why Iceland led UN resolution on PH drug war killings)

A total of 18 out of 47 member-countries backed the Iceland-proposed resolution which, among others, asked UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet for a comprehensive report on the situation in the Philippines and present it to the council. Fourteen countries opposed the resolution and 15 abstained. (READ: Meet PH's new friends: Countries that voted vs human rights resolution)

Despite the resolution's adoption by the UNHRC in July, Locsin maintained it did not hold, saying "under some parliamentary rules it (resolution) does not carry" if abstentions were considered.

Locsin had earlier pointed out that the UN resolution "was not universally adopted," and "therefore its validity is highly questionable."

Asked if he would allow international observers to enter the Philippines since he said he had moved on from Iceland's resolution, Locsin maintained his stand to deny such action.

"No, because they already prejudged. Those bastards," he said.

Invitations from the Philippines, or any country subjected to a review, is a prerequisite to any UN mission. Considering the importance of face-to-face interviews with victims and other stakeholders, field visits are vital components of the review the UN rights office is expected to do. (READ: On U.N. resolution vs drug war killings: What if Duterte blocks review?)

"I don't want them coming here and then saying everything that they have not proved is true because we saw it. How? Are they going to exhume everybody? Every corpse?... I'm not going to give them that chance," Locsin said.

Despite this, a report is not dependent on whether or not observers will be allowed to enter the Philippines. In the case of the UNHRC 2018 report on Venezuela, the government did not provide access to the team so they conducted remote monitoring.

Meanwhile, the top diplomat reiterated that the Philippines would remain in the UNHRC despite the adoption of the resolution.

"In terms of action that means we stay there and continue the debate. We stay engaged," he said. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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